1. to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty: I know the situation fully.
2. to have established or fixed in the mind or memory: to know a poem by heart; Do you know the way to the park from here?
3. to be cognizant or aware of: I know it.
4. be acquainted with (a thing, place, person, etc.), as by sight, experience, or report: to know the mayor.
5. to understand from experience or attainment (usually fol. by how before an infinitive): to know how to make gingerbread.
6. to be able to distinguish, as one from another: to know right from wrong. (source)
This morning I was reading the remainder of Matthew 11 so I could record my notes, but I couldn't get past this verse:
27"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
The "no one knows" parts became like a riddle to me. I realize Jesus spoke often in parables - telling a simple story in order to teach a spiritual lesson - and thanks to helpful teachings over the years I think I grasp the significance of most of those. However, this verse threw me for a loop as I tried to make sense of it.
I started thinking of the word "know." Recently my neighbor was discussing a mutual friend and made the comment that India knows everyone. And she also made the same statement about Andrew since one Sunday evening we went out with them and Joyce noticed how Andrew knew a couple of people in the restaurant. You often hear reference to certain people who seem to "know" everyone in town.
Truth is, most of this "knowing" is just having various degrees of awareness of who certain people are, maybe something about their families, jobs, community activities and so forth, right? Or maybe I should say there are many levels of "knowing." I can say I "know" someone I've met in the past, yet do I really know what makes her tick? What she enjoys doing in her free time, if she even has free time, her favorite color, foods, vacation spots, political leaning, views about God. Like I can tell a fellow blogger that I "know" Amber or Sarah or Suroor, but it varies how much I know about each one. Who knew Amber found glee in reading and writing shark posts until she revealed this bit of news the other day? (Actually the "glee" part is found in the labels.) And I didn't realize Sarah enjoyed the guitar until recently. Suroor and Lat -- yeah, I "know" these ladies yet I don't even know where Lat lives. And Wafa', my sweet Saudi friend, I've never seen a picture of her. So I "know" all these fine ladies, but to varying degrees, right?
All that to say, "knowing" someone can be knowing on different levels. Indeed Dictionary.com records an archaic definition as "to have sexual intercourse with." Anyone reading the King James Version of the Bible realizes this when Adam knew Eve and suddenly she is pregnant. So "know" can be an intimate knowing as well.
And I think you can intimately know someone without the sex. You can learn about people's interest, their hearts' desires, their likes and dislikes, what makes them angry, what melts their hearts, what moves them to tears.
Back to Jesus and his Father as recorded in the above verse. What does the Father knowing the Son and the Son knowing the Father mean? Many people knew Jesus during his time on earth. In fact, he had many followers and twelve who were his close disciples. Surely they knew quite a bit about Jesus, yet why does Jesus here seemingly speak in riddles and say something like "No one knows the Son except the Father."
One might argue, of course God knows people best. Duh, He made them! He has every hair numbered and knew us before we were even born. This is what Jesus was speaking of. But then how do you explain the rest of the riddle "and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Jesus is saying he knows the Father AND others can know the Father through his (Jesus') revelation of God. Does this mean God is unknowable apart from Jesus? I've been wrestling with the idea of God as a force, an energy, a spirit since I have a hard time relating to loving something that is not human or not able to be seen. In my mind, I picture God a certain way even if He's just a pure white "man" covered with clouds and brightness. It's difficult thinking of him without human qualities and features! How does one love a force? How does one love the universe (if the universe is God for instance)? Does Jesus put a human face to God and this is why Jesus said, "if you've seen me, you've seen the Father"?
What do you think?